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What is Family Studies?

Delgadillo Family, Family Studies Program, Eric Torres Photos

Family Studies offers an interdisciplinary approach to understanding the well-being and healthy development of individuals and families over the lifespan, including dynamic relations within the family as well as the family’s interactions with broader social institutions.

Jobs in Family Studies

Graduates with Family Studies degrees can work in many different human services and health care settings including (but not limited to) day-care centers, drug and alcohol treatment centers, hospitals, child and domestic abuse centers, runaway shelters, nursing homes, assisted living, and other types programs for older people. Family Studies graduates may provide direct services such as case management, or help plan, develop and manage programs and services.

Although completing this program will qualify you for a number of jobs, many of the positions require special skills and experience (or supplemental graduate degrees). It is a good idea to start developing contacts, joining relevant associations and clubs, and acquiring volunteer and work experience as early as possible.

The following is a list of potential jobs for Family Studies graduates though some may spill over into other departments. The list is not exhaustive, but is intended to help students generate options.

1. Social and Human Services


Possible jobs: Case manager; Community organizer; Counselor; Family support worker; Activity/recreation director; Administrator; Advocate; Grant writer; Development officer; Researcher; Child Life Specialist; Overnight Shelter Staff; Youth Counselor; Youth Treatment Worker

Possible employers: Government, non-profit and for-profit agencies designed to serve children, youth, families, seniors, and communities; Child welfare/foster care and adoption agencies; Maternal health agencies; Hospitals, home health, long term care agencies; Military family support services; Juvenile service agencies; Substance abuse prevention programs; Criminal justice settings; Domestic violence shelters; Child and adult protective services; Peace Corps; Senior day program centers; Offices of aging; Vocational rehabilitation/job training agencies; Research institutes

2. Community Services


Possible jobs: Counselor; Parent educator; Youth development worker; Sexuality educator; Crisis/hotline worker; Program administrator/director; Grant-writer; Development officer; Program evaluator and researcher (MA/MSW or PhD); Clergy, pastoral care; Housing Officer or Project Manager; Job Placement Specialist; Recreational Services; Volunteer Coordinator

Possible employers: Community centers; YWCA, YMCA; Summer camp programs; Clubs and classes for children; Programs for people with special needs; Family support centers; Parenting education programs; Cooperative Extension; Local governments; Jobs programs; Faith based organizations

3. Education


Possible jobs: Certified Family Life Educator (CFLE); Teacher – preschool (BA), high school (BA with certification); Administrator; Advocate/policy analyst; After school program director; Program evaluator; Curriculum developer; School counselor (MA/MS); Family support counselor for parents of children with special needs; Family resource coordinator; Educational researcher (PhD); Childhood Education Program Supervisor; Educational Assistant

Possible employers: Child care centers; Child development centers; Head Start programs; Family daycare; After school tutoring/social emotional skills programs; School-based programs; Parenting, family life education, and outreach programs; Marriage and family enrichment programs; Cooperative Extension; Health and wellness prevention settings; Americorps/Peace Corps; Religious institutions

4. Policy & Law


Possible jobs: Family policy analyst or researcher, Lobbyist/advocate; Legislator; Advocate, child/family; Mediator; Tenant Relations Counselor

Possible employers: At all levels of government (Departments of Health, Education, Human Services, Nutrition, Occupational and Human Safety, Immigration Services, etc.); Nonprofit child/family research/advocacy organizations; Policy “think tanks”; Non-governmental organizations (NGOs); Human rights organizations; Divorce/other mediation programs; Domestic violence organizations; Child & Adult Protective Services, legal representation; Victim/witness support services; Legal aide agencies; Lawyers’/District attorney’s office; Legislative advocacy groups; Consumer safety organizations

5. Communications & Business


Possible jobs: Human resource specialist; Employee assistance specialist; Corporate work and family director; Family financial counselor; Consumer protection specialist; Public relations director; Sales and marketing specialist; Family business consultant; Real estate agent; Consultant; Writer/editor/journalist; Consumer or market researcher

Possible employers: Human resources departments or firms; Public relations departments; Development offices; Your start-up business; Corporate daycare; Manufacturing industry products for children and families; Consumer service departments/agencies; Financial agencies; Marketing research agencies

* Job list generated by the Department of Family Studies at the University of Maryland, College Park